With two billion active users, Instagram can work wonders for your business. Growing a following for your business page is one of the first steps. Many business owners are eager to invest in Instagram ads and influencers. But did you know that there are free ways to attract more followers to your Instagram page?
To maximize success on Instagram and draw in more followers, start with these simple steps. That will help you sell on Instagram easier, faster, and more frugally.
First, Optimize Your Instagram Profile
Before you start growing followers, make sure your page is ready to be followed. That means setting it up correctly and making sure it’s attractive to your desired audience. Check some of the ways to make potential customers feel welcome to your profile.
Choose an Informative Username
When people search on Instagram, they often search by a topic they are interested in. The first step is creating an informative username that speaks to the target audience. Include two or three keywords related to what you are selling. Think of language your customers would use to get better visibility results.
For example, someone looking to find a handmade surfboard or custom t-shirt company might type in “surfboards” or “shirts.” The more you can squeeze into your username, the easier it will be for people to find you.
The target audience is less likely to find you if you write just your brand or store name in the “Name” field. The only exception is if your brand is already famous, like Nike or Patagonia.
Write an Attention-Grabbing Bio
With a limit of 150 characters, an Instagram bio is small but powerful. The major goal of the bio is to attract new followers and potential customers. You have to optimize the limited amount of characters in your profile header to your advantage. Explain who you are, what you offer, and why people should follow you.
We did the research for you and found out exactly how to write an amazing Instagram bio. Here’s what we found:
- Keep your bio short and sweet. You can make it fun and quirky too, or whatever voice you think represents your brand.
- Make sure it clearly states what you sell and how people can benefit from following you.
- Include your contact information so your customers can reach you in whatever way works best for them.
- Use emojis to get the most out of the small space.
- Use hashtags sparingly and only if they’re branded.
- Link to your website to let people know where they can buy your products.
Use Highlights to Show More About Your Business
Your bio might be primed to pull in potential followers, but don’t stop there! Use Instagram Highlights to further introduce your business to new people.
Instagram Highlights are collections of your stories that live on your profile permanently. They give visitors a glimpse into what’s going on with your business. Here are some tips for how to use Highlights for a business:
- Talk about your brand, like what it stands for, its values, and how it stands out from competitors.
- Feature your products and explain their value. If you sell lots of products, start with your hits and bestsellers.
- Showcase customer reviews and testimonials.
- Share helpful tips and advice related to your products or services.
- Answer the most common questions about your business, such as products’ composition and care, shipping details, refund policy, and so on.
Pin Some Introductory Posts
While bio and highlights help introduce your business to new followers, pinning a few informational posts at the top of your post feed can be very helpful. These can include an introduction to you as the business owner, a post that contains your branded hashtags to make navigating the content on your page easier, and/or slideshows of your most popular products.
You can even pin a fun reel at the top of your page if it’s relatable to your audience to encourage them to follow you.
No matter what you decide to pin at the top of your Instagram page, ensure that it serves the ultimate purpose of inspiring your target audience to follow your page.
With a catchy name, value-demonstrating bio, informative highlights, and pinned posts, your profile should be attractive enough to draw in new followers!
Now, let’s talk about how to grow your page’s reach.
Create Reels Consistently to Get Discovered
I know what you’re thinking: why won’t Instagram stick to photo posts?
While photos are not going anywhere yet, you can’t ignore the growing popularity of reels. Reels allow businesses to show off their products and services in a more engaging way. Plus, videos often tend to get more organic reach than photos.
Reels are great for brand discovery! Reels can appear in the Explore tab and be discovered beyond your current following. This is great for increasing your visibility on the platform.
So why not use this opportunity to your advantage? Create fun reels that demonstrate what your page has to offer to potential followers, whether it’s educational content or a dose of daily laughs.
Here are a couple of ideas on how businesses can grow followers with reels:
- Make educational content that debunks common misconceptions about your product or industry. For example, “Top 3 myths about sunscreen.”
- Inject humor into reels that your target audience can relate to. Keep track of current trending audio and use it when appropriate.
- Share a fun reel about running a business. For example, “Running an apparel business: Expectations vs Reality.”
- Show your expertise in your niche. For example, “Foods I Avoid as a Licensed Dietician.”
- Offer an insider look into your niche. For example, “New Skincare Trends That Are Actually Helpful.”
Use Geotags for Increased Visibility
Sometimes users search photos by place, so add geotags to your posts whenever possible. For example, if you have a physical store in a shopping mall, make sure to add its geotag to your product photos. Or, if you take photos of a new clothes collection in the street, tag this particular place in the city.
Users may find your profile by the geotag and then follow your Instagram account, so utilize geotags as much as possible.
Use Hashtags Strategically
Hashtags are simple and free. They are also very useful if you want to make money on Instagram. They work by:
- Getting more followers who search by hashtags.
- Keeping yourself informed of what competitors are doing.
You can add up to 30 hashtags to an Instagram post. However, Instagram’s @creators page advises using three to five hashtags per post. Remember that tags should always be relevant. Instagram bans those who frequently use hashtags inadequately.
Instagram hashtags are a great resource… But use them sparingly. Too many hashtags may turn off a customer who was originally interested in your business.
What does “use hashtags sparingly” mean? Well, you only want to use the hashtags that get more followers. First, think about which hashtags might attract your audience and follow them. After observing the most popular and effective hashtags, you can start using them in your own content.
Hashtags can also help you stay up to date with current events. Local street markets or street fairs you want to attend might have their own hashtags, so you want to do your research. By following such hashtags, you can keep track of what’s going on in your community and decide if you can join in.
Follow the hashtags that inspire you. If you sell teen clothes, #youth can give you a content idea or two that you can post in your profile. Check out your business rivals’ hashtags too! Hashtags are useful for both attracting followers and discovering what kind of content works.
Try to Get on the Explore Page
The Explore page on Instagram is a way to get your content in front of new users who don’t already follow you. It is an algorithm-based section of the app that displays what Instagram thinks its users might be interested in. It pulls from posts and accounts based on the types of things the user has liked, commented on, or interacted with in the past.
If you want to appear more often on people’s Explore Pages, ensure your content is tailored to your target audience. What do your potential customers want to know about? What do they find funny? What are the problems they want to solve?
Entertaining and captivating reels are especially great for boosting brand discovery. Don’t forget about captions. Since reels have a high chance of being discovered by people outside your following, write captions that draw people in. Adding a call to action won’t hurt either, like, “Follow for more helpful content for pet owners.”
Using relevant niche-specific hashtags, geotagging your content, and engaging with similar pages also help to tell the algorithm what your content is about. Hence, it gets a higher chance of being recommended to other users.
Collaborate with Other Creators
By partnering with influencers and other content creators, businesses can leverage existing audiences to gain more visibility and expand their reach. This can be especially helpful if you are just starting out and don’t have many followers yet.
We recommend collaborating with nano-influencers or small business owners from your niche. This way, you can make a collaboration for free or in exchange for your product or service.
For example, if you sell pet products, look for other businesses that cater to the same audience and offer services or products complementary to yours. If you sell pet toys, you could collaborate with a dog trainer and make a reel for their page about the best types of products for puppies learning how to potty train.
The key here is to collaborate with creators whose audience might be interested in your business. For example, skincare brands can collaborate with influencers that review different skincare products or an esthetician.
Collaborations also provide a great opportunity to build relationships with like-minded people in your industry. Connections can help you create better content for your page in the long term and also create channels for customers to find your products.
Get Published in Communities
Look for Instagram accounts with a similar theme as yours and follow them. To find those profiles, search for relevant keywords. Check out the posts and look for the community accounts.
Communities usually have their own hashtag. Accounts can use their hashtags to repost the best photos and then credit the owner. You can tag communities in your Instagram posts to bring attention to yourself. Success depends on whether followers like your post and their willingness to follow you.
Remember that your post should be interesting to specific audiences and correspond to their theme. You should also make contacts with useful community accounts, comment on relevant posts, and share interesting posts with your audience. These techniques all bring desired attention to your business.
Create Content That Generates Interactions
You might have heard a thing or two about the Instagram algorithm. It determines which posts appear in users’ feeds and affects how visible your content is to your existing and potential followers.
The Instagram algorithm is designed to prioritize posts that generate more interactions, such as reel views or post comments. So the content you create should be engaging enough for users to interact with it. Engaging content encourages people to comment, share, and like posts, reels, and stories.
By posting content your followers interact with, you increase the chance of your profile being recommended by the algorithm to new audiences interested in your content.
Here are a few ways to make Instagram content that generates interactions:
- Use story stickers for running polls or surveys related to your business or industry.
- Add emoji sliders and reaction buttons to your stories.
- Add captions to reels and posts that invite users to discuss a topic in the comments.
- Invite your followers to DM you with questions or feedback.
- Remind followers that they can save your reels or posts when you share helpful tips.
- In a caption, offer to send a reel or post to someone who might benefit from your content.
Encourage Followers to Tag You in Their Content
As we discussed above, playing along the Instagram algorithm is key to getting your profile recommended to people who don’t follow you but might be interested in your content. However, not only the Instagram algorithm can recommend your content to your target audience—recommendations from your own followers can work just as well!
Ask customers to share a picture or video of them using your product and tag your profile. It also serves as social proof that your product is worth buying! Don’t forget to save that content to reuse for your page later.
Create educational content that offers an insider look into the topic relevant to your audience and add a call to action. For example, a teacher can make a reel about self-soothing techniques for kids and add a CTA like, “Know other tips? Share them and tag us so we can repost and help more parents!”
You can also go for more light-hearted content and make a gallery post with fun images on the same topic. For example, “Choose your mood today” or “What type of flower are you?” Remind followers to tag your account if they share their choice in their stories.
Another way to generate more mentions of your profile is to throw out a challenge or trend. For example, if you sell mental health journals, make a reel asking for your followers’ tips for self-care. In the caption, ask them to tag your profile so that you can reshare all the tips.
Or, you can run a giveaway and ask participants to repost your content to their stories and tag you.
Comment on Relevant Instagram Accounts
Join conversations on other Instagram pages relevant to your niche. It can be other creators, brands, or communities.
To find relevant profiles, search for thematic keywords. The accounts that come up first in the search are the leaders. Share expert opinions, give advice, respond to comments, and just communicate naturally.
Remember that politeness and friendliness attract people more than sales language. Do not post CTAs like, “Buy the best watches here.” Those look spammy and are seen as disrespectful in the Instagram space. Language like that might even get your profile banned.
Start Growing Instagram Followers
Growing your Instagram followers for free doesn’t have to be an impossible task. You can grow a larger audience without spending money by creating engaging content, encouraging followers to interact with your profile and tag you in their posts, commenting on relevant accounts, and more.
To make the most of these tips and tricks, it’s important to understand how the Instagram algorithm works. As such, we recommend that you read our article about that topic as well. With dedication and creativity, anyone can create great content that attracts more followers without spending a dime.